The fresh-off-the-press Kindle Fire from Amazon.com
The name of the offending patent troll is Acacia Research
Acacia is a small outfit out of California that sits with a $1.6 billion market cap and pulled in $39.7 million in revenue last quarter. The company owns or controls the rights to more than 184 patent portfolios. Interestingly, three licensees alone contributed 70% of last quarter's revenue. Acacia also frequently spars with other smartphone heavyweights, including Apple
In this case, the company is alleging that Amazon is infringing on four patents. Like most software patent suits nowadays, the patent is obscenely vague and practically applies to everything. The patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562 granted in October 2005. This is the patent's description:
"A method for software control using a user-interactive display screen feature is disclosed that reduces stylus or other manipulations necessary to invoke software functionality from the display screen."
Not only is that sentence grammatically cumbersome, yet in all its wordiness it fails to actually describe something worth patenting.
Regardless of the outcome, this suit will serve only to pester the enormous e-tailer. Amazon will naturally proceed with selling millions of tablets and cornering the Android tablet market.
Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.